Text size Hexavest of Montreal reduced positions in Apple and Microsoft stock, and increased holdings in Pfizer and Merck in the second quarter. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images A big Canadian investor made big changes in its portfolio in the second quarter. Hexavest of Montreal reduced positions in Apple (ticker: AAPL) and Microsoft (MSFT) stock, and
A big Canadian investor made big changes in its portfolio in the second quarter.
Hexavest of Montreal reduced positions in
(ticker: AAPL) and
(MSFT) stock, and bought more
(MRK) shares in the first quarter. Hexavest disclosed the trades, among others, in a form it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Hexavest, a contrarian investor, has $4.2 billion in assets under management. It didn’t respond to a request for comment. From August 2012 through February 2021, Eaton Vance owned 49% of Hexavest. In May, Canadian financial-services giant Desjardins Group agreed to buy all of Hexavest, a deal expected to close around Sept. 1.
Hexavest sold 86,354 Apple shares to end the second quarter with 417,777 shares of the iPhone maker.
Apple stock managed to gain 3.2% in the first half of the year, far short of the 14.4% rise in the
S&P 500 index.
So far in the third quarter, Apple stock has gained 6.9%, compared with a 0.7% rise in the index.
Apple shares have been setting record highs this month. We named CEO
to our list of top CEOs. “Cook has added new product categories while strengthening ties among Apple’s hardware, software, and services offerings,” we noted. Barron’s also thinks Apple could face federal and state lawsuits that allege anticompetitive practices of its App Store.
Hexavest sold 60,202 Microsoft shares to end June with 328,870 shares of the software giant. Microsoft stock soared 21.8% in the first quarter, and so far in the third, it has managed a 3.6% gain.
Earlier this month, Microsoft’s $10 billion JEDI contract with the Department of Defense was canceled. CEO
who also made our best CEO list, told us that “digital technology will be key to resilience and transformation.” Microsoft recently agreed to buy a security-software firm.
Hexavest bulked up on its holdings in Pfizer and Merck stock, buying 101,784 and 48,611 more shares, respectively, to end the second quarter with 612,517 and 223,867 shares of the pharma giants.
Both are lagging behind the market this year. Pfizer stock rose 6.4% in the first half, and has gained 3.0% so far in July, while Merck shares were flat in the first half, and have remained flat so far in July, as well.
Pfizer has been pushing for booster shots with its Covid-19 vaccine, but agencies want more data. The company has already started a trial for a booster shot. Pfizer’s
also made our list of top CEOs, and we credit him with “a highly effective vaccine delivered within a year, shattering the previous record of four years.”
Merck is competing with Pfizer in the pediatric vaccine market. Merck reached a deal to sell $1.2 billion worth of its experimental Covid-19 antiviral to the U.S. government, if the drug receives emergency-use authorization. J.P. Morgan analyst
maintained an Overweight rating on Merck in a July 13 report, noting that “Keytruda represents the key pillar of growth for the company, and we see Keytruda driving upside to both topline and operating margins/earnings over the coming quarters/years.” Keytruda is a cancer treatment.
Inside Scoop is a regular Barron’s feature covering stock transactions by corporate executives and board members—so-called insiders—as well as large shareholders, politicians, and other prominent figures. Due to their insider status, these investors are required to disclose stock trades with the Securities and Exchange Commission or other regulatory groups.